"Common scams that pop up around the holidays are fake charities," according to Marti DeLiema at the Stanford Center on Longevity and one of the nation's foremost experts on financial fraud and abuse. "They often approach their victims by email or door-to-door." DeLiema recommends that you don't give anybody money who comes to your door and don't hit "reply" to any email that solicits for donations. Instead, check out any charity by going directly to its website. Make sure it's legitimate, and send any donations directly to its mailing address or via an online donation form. Speaking of charitable giving, some legitimate but aggressive charities continue to send solicitations throughout the year, even if you've already contributed. Some elderly people forget that they've done so and then contribute again and again with each solicitation. One way to address this problem is to contribute to charities just once a year, perhaps at year-end, and write down the dates, amounts and details of your donations. DeLiema added that fake online deals and product scams are also common around the holidays as people shop for gifts. Once again, don't hit reply to emails you might receive that alert you to bargains. Instead, go directly to the official websites of reputable online retailers.
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